Accessibility links

Breaking News

Migrant Who Walked Chunnel Pleads Not Guilty

FILE - A migrant is seen walking after crossing a fence as he attempts to access the Channel Tunnel in Calais, northern France, Aug. 8, 2015.

A Sudanese migrant who walked the length of the Channel Tunnel from France to Britain has pleaded not guilty to charges in a British court.

Abdul Haroun, 40, appeared via videolink from a prison Monday, to enter a plea on an obscure 19th-century charge of "causing obstruction to an engine or carriage using a railway."

Speaking through an Arabic-language interpreter, Haroun said he was not guilty of the offense.

Haroun was arrested on August 4 after being found in the tunnel near its exit in the county of Kent. He is believed to have spent 12 hours walking along the tracks in the dark as high-speed trains passed by.

As many as 10,000 migrants from Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere are living in squalid encampments near the entrance to the tunnel in Calais, France, a city of 70,000.

Eurotunnel, the company that operates the 50-kilometer undersea tunnel, says it has blocked more than 37,000 migrants trying to cross illegally from continental Europe to Britain since the beginning of the year.